Lead­ers in the mak­ing

New Straits Times - - Excellence In Education - For more in­for­ma­tion visit http://www.unirazak.edu.my/tar­sog.php.

THE in­for­ma­tion age poses new chal­lenges to gov­ern­ments all over the world. Cit­i­zens are not only de­mand­ing that pub­lic ser­vices be made avail­able round-the-clock, but that gov­ern­ments must be able to ad­dress com­plex­i­ties of mod­ern liv­ing with greater ef­fec­tive­ness and ef­fi­ciency.

In­deed, we are liv­ing in a com­plex sys­tem where ra­tio­nal choice and politi­cal con­ser­vatism are be­ing over­shad­owed by pop­ulism that makes pre­dic­tions an in­creas­ingly fu­tile af­fair.

In the age of in­no­va­tion and con­stant change, good lead­ers are cru­cial to drive the value of pub­lic ser­vice.

To keep up with the de­mands of the times, Univer­siti Tun Ab­dul Razak (Unirazak) has estab­lished the Tun Ab­dul Razak School of Gov­ern­ment (TAR­SOG) in 2008 to im­prove the qual­ity of pub­lic pol­i­cy­mak­ing and gov­ern­ment.

TAR­SOG dean As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Datuk Mohd Ibrahim Abu Bakar said with its broad-based cur­ricu­lum that was akin to a lib­eral arts ed­u­ca­tion, TAR­SOG aimed to pro­duce a new brand of pub­lic sec­tor lead­ers to help Malaysia ne­go­ti­ate the com­plex­i­ties of the politi­cal, so­cial and eco­nomic cli­mate.

He said the mod­ules of­fered were wide rang­ing and de­signed to equip fu­ture lead­ers with the tools to make sense of the mul­ti­fac­eted di­men­sions of pol­icy prob­lems.

He said the school of­fers three pro­grammes — the Bach­e­lor of Arts in Gov­ern­ment and Pub­lic Pol­icy, Bach­e­lor of Arts in Eco­nom­ics, and Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lead­er­ship.

“In the first two semesters, TAR­SOG stu­dents must take core cour­ses in so­ci­ol­ogy, politi­cal science, eco­nom­ics, lead­er­ship, re­search method­ol­ogy, sta­tis­tics, Malaysian econ­omy and pol­icy, de­vel­op­ment eco­nom­ics, pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion and cross cul­tural man­age­ment.”

He said there were other in­ter­est­ing cour­ses, such as politi­cal econ­omy of de­vel­op­ment, is­sues in glob­al­i­sa­tion, pop­u­la­tion and en­vi­ron­ment, in­no­va­tion lead­er­ship, or­gan­i­sa­tional change and man­age­ment of state-owned en­ter­prise, among oth­ers.

Ibrahim said the school be­lieved such ex­po­sure would en­able stu­dents to adopt a more holis­tic ap­proach to pol­icy-mak­ing.

“TAR­SOG makes it near com­pul­sory for fi­nal-year stu­dents to take up in­tern­ship pro­grammes,” he said.

To make for a more re­ward­ing ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, he said, the school had a stu­dent ex­change pro­gramme with Ye­ung­nam Univer­sity in South Korea, where qual­i­fied stu­dents get to spend six months at the univer­sity ev­ery year.

Ibrahim said the in­ter­ac­tive learn­ing and teach­ing style in class­rooms had pro­duced re­sults as stu­dents who went for in­tern­ships of­ten got good re­views from em­ploy­ers.

“The school also be­lieves in a healthy mix of full-time and part­time fac­ulty mem­bers.”

He said the school sees strength in hav­ing part-time fac­ulty mem­bers who were from the in­dus­try, with the ma­jor­ity be­ing ex-civil ser­vice of­fi­cers, specif­i­cally former ad­min­is­tra­tive and diplo­matic of­fi­cers (PTD) and diplo­mats, who have more than 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in pub­lic ser­vice.

“De­spite be­ing a young school, TAR­SOG has had many achieve­ments,” he said.

Two of its stu­dents have won the pres­ti­gious Per­dana fel­low­ship award. This is a com­pet­i­tive award where ev­ery year, only the best fi­nal year un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents are se­lected to work with a min­is­ter.

He said the school is also proud that for two con­sec­u­tive years, two of its stu­dents have been awarded Ful­bright schol­ar­ships to spend a se­mes­ter at pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties in the United States.

“TAR­SOG’s achieve­ments are tes­ta­ments to the in­no­va­tive pro­grammes that the school is of­fer­ing as well as the qual­ity of its teach­ing fac­ulty.”

Be­sides that, he said come mid­dle of this year, the school will be of­fer­ing a Mas­ter of Pub­lic Pol­icy.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Datuk Mohd Ibrahim Abu Bakar

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